Marivan Skincare Inc. is a research and development (R&D) company. The company focuses on three major risk factors of skin aging: body iron, environmental pollution, and sun exposure. When Women’s Health Initiatives (WHI) study showed that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases cancer risk in postmenopausal women, Marivan started to search for safer alternatives. Large population studies have shown that, as a result of cessation of menstruation, iron increases during menopausal transition. Because iron cannot be eliminated through urination or other physiological mechanisms, skin desquamation is an important path to get rid of iron, and without menstruation, this path is even more critical in older women than in young women. We have shown that 1) increased iron in the body accelerates estrogen metabolisms to carcinogenic estrogen metabolites and 2) increased iron in skin contributes to skin aging and photoaging. Therefore, Marivan was born to research and develop skincare products targeting iron in the skin. This strategy will directly reduce the toxic effects of iron on skin and, to a lesser extent, extend the half-life of good natural estrogen. The end results are improved skin appearance and decreased cancer risk potentially caused by estrogen metabolism.
Estrogen is considered the single most important growth factor in a female’s body development. Estrogen affects the growth, differentiation, and function of tissues such as breasts, skin, and bone. Yet, the role of iron in women’s health has been largely ignored. Figure 1 shows that estrogen and iron levels change concurrently but inversely over the lifespan of a woman. If estrogen decrease is important in skin aging during and after menopause, our science shows that iron plays the most significant role in skin aging along with the harmful rays of the sun; but without iron, the sun becomes an ally in woman’s health. So iron is the single most important target of anti-aging skincare.
The human body has many ways of absorbing iron through diets. Iron is transported by transferrin in the circulation and mainly used by hemoglobin of red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lung to various tissues. Free iron is toxic and, thus, excess iron is stored in ferritin. Ferritin has a capacity of binding up to 4,500 atoms of iron per molecule of ferritin. Yet, the human body has no physiologic excretion mechanisms for iron. Figure 2 shows that skin desquamation is an important route to get rid of iron. Therefore, skin is a repository of iron and skin becomes an important target of iron-catalyzed oxidative damage.
Iron triggers two types of skin damage: oxidative and biochemical. Iron is the best known transition metal in catalyzing oxygen free radical formation through Fenton and Haber-Weiss reactions. We have shown that iron in ferritin not only produces oxidants but also sensitizes skin to ultraviolet-A (UVA)-mediated matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) formation. Increased activity of MMP-1, known as type 1 collagenase, enhances collagen breakdown in the skin, leading to wrinkle formation and skin thinning.
Marivan Skincare Inc. has discovered natural products that can effectively remove iron from the skin. This core compound is termed as de-ironizing inducer (D.I.I., Patent pending). D.I.I. targets ferritin without interfering physiological functions of other iron components. Clinical trials reveal that after 3 month use of D.I.I., it effectively reduces wrinkles and improves skin appearance.
Heavy transition metals, such as nickel, cadmium, lead, and chromium, are important parts of environmental pollutants from car exhaust and coal-fired power plants. Like endogenous iron, these exogenous transition metals are capable of producing oxidants and cause oxidative skin aging. Because of the high buffering capacity of D.I.I., application of D.I.I. on the skin makes the skin become more resistant to these environmental challenges. D.I.I. is also effective in reducing the bioavailability of these transition metals and, thus, provides a layer of long-lasting skin protection against environmental pollutions.
Solar UV radiation is one of the most important extrinsic factors causing premature skin aging, known as photo-aging. We have shown that iron synergistically sensitizes skin to UVA-mediated MMP-1 formation. Because of the ability of D.I.I. to remove iron in the skin, D.I.I. can be used in combination with sun blocker to enhance the skin protection effects of sun screens.
Marivan Skincare Inc. has translated this scientific finding into skincare products. It has formed a joint venture in Changsha, China. For product information, please visit http://www.marivan.cn.
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